I have a broken heart, a master’s degree from the most rigorous institution of higher learning in the United States, believe that melon has no place in a respectable fruit salad, and have legit world travel credentials. The first part of my life was characterized by a kind of restraint that I now find morbid. I’m husband material, which sometimes presents itself as a problem, and I vacillate between pretending to write a book about finding my voice and actually writing a book about finding my voice.
When my world was falling apart 3 years ago my councilor Ellie would sometimes ask me, who would we be without the stories we tell ourselves? Over the last 36 months the question has echoed through my spirit in waves, each time with a different timber and shade of meaning. In my first hearing it meant that the world around me wasn’t necessarily how I understood it and conceptualized it, and 3 years worth of unfathomable change in my inner and outer worlds have borne that out. Then, its meaning had something to do with understanding and being aware of my presence and momentary experience in the world, and shedding the urge to evaluate my experiences. Now, it presents itself in an entirely different way.
My story had a structure. It was brilliant and graceful, had integrity and dynamism, and in rounding the southern tip of America’s spine, the first time on my trip when I had to actually turn and point myself home, when my baggage was stolen and my heart was reintroduced to the sparkly lighter side of love, I lost it.
Who am I without this story? Who are we without these stories we tell ourselves?